Tableau 8.2: New Features

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Good news for all Tableau fans! The new release, version 8.2, is now available!

We have been selected to participate in the testing program of Tableau 8.2 Beta. Lucky you to be reading this article, as you will have the privilege to read about some of the new features being included in the new release.

In this article I’m introducing you some of the hottest functionalities in Tableau 8.2:

  1. Visual Connection to Databases
  2. Story Telling Object
  3. Updated Maps
  4. Tableau Server Improvements
  5. Tableau Desktop for Mac OS

Keep reading and get as excited as I was when going through them for the first time. It’s worth spending 5’ reading this article. You will not regret that.

1. Visual Connection to Databases

This new feature will greatly simplify how we are currently building data extract queries. It’s a completely redesigned data connectivity view that allows the designer to build different types of joins (inner, left, right, full outer) between tables in a visual and very intuitive way.

The steps to follow are:

  1. Select the data source: Nothing has changed here. You must select the data source type and then fill in the appropriate details to connect to the selected data source.
  2. Select the tables: Drag and drop the selected table into the canvas on the right.
  3. Set the joins: Click on the joins and set the join type as well as the matching columns.
  4. Verify if the joins are correct in the Preview: Check the query results to validate the joins.
  5. Click on “Go to Worksheet” to start working on the new analysis: Once you have done all the above, click on this button to start designing your analysis.

Note that you will be able to choose the connection type. The options are:

  • Live: Queries will be done to the data source to retrieve the data.
  • Extract: Queries will be done to an extract of the data instead of the real data source.

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Below you can find two screenshots so that you can compare this functionality between Tableau 8.1 and 8.2:

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Data connection version 8.1                                            Data connection version 8.2

Having said this, news in data connection do not finish here. There are improvements in the following connections sources too:

  • Microsoft Excel and Text files: Improved detection of field types, larger amount of columns, Time type seconds recognition, percentages as number recognition…
  • SAP HANA: Variables and input parameters.
  • OAuth: Support for SalesForce.com, Google Analytics and Google BigQuery
  • Google BigQuery: Native support provided
  • Splunk: Improved connection.

 

2.Story Telling object

Story Telling provides the user a brand new experience in data analysis as it guides the user through different analysis following a predefined path.

The predefined path is defined by the Story Points, a sequence of steps that the user can walk through as he or she explores the data. However the user is not forced to go through every single step to get to the analysis he or she is most interested in. The user can jump into that step without the need of visualising the previous ones.

Each Story Point or step in the Story Telling is showing the user an analysis or even an entire dashboard.

Proceed to the following steps in order to create a Story with Story Telling:

  • Create a new Story

Add a new Story by clicking on “Story” > “New Story” in the Menu bar.

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You can also create a new Story by right clicking on the Analysis/Dashboards/Stories tabs and selecting “New Story”.

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  • Embed sheets and dashboards into Story boards

The sheets and dashboards are displayed as on the left pane of the board as in the previous versions of Tableau. To insert them into the Story, just drag & drop them into the right pane.

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  • Add annotations

The analysis won’t lose neither the annotations, highlights nor filter capabilities once embedded in the Story board. On top of that, we have additional description capabilities to add to the Story board to emphasize important findings.

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  • Print the stories in PDF

Click on “File” > “Print as PDF” and you will save the Story Telling object as PDF showing each step in a separate page of the PDF document.

  • Show in full screen

Click on “Window” > “Presentation Mode” or press F7 to show the Story Telling object in full screen as it can be done with dashboards.

 

3. Updated Maps

Tableau is improving the visualization in maps, one of the most powerful capabilities of the product.

The data content used to create the maps is including the latest set of data from OpenStreetMap. This engine allows you to zoom down into 16-steps of zoom, WORLWIDE!

You can check the visual impact of such changes by comparing the screenshots below:

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Maps version 8.1                                                                          Maps version 8.2

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Maps version 8.1 with 3 levels of zoom                                      Maps version 8.2 with 3 levels of zoom

4.Tableau Server improvements

There are many improvements on the server side, mainly focused in simplifying the server administration. Some of these improvements are:

  • Easier Log Access
  • New Log Format
  • Change Content Ownership
  • Provision Sites with Site Export/Import
  • Server APIs for Administrators
  • Responsive Marks
  • Cross-version compatibility
  • Disable Web Authoring per Site
  • Support for Multiple IP Addresses

5. Tableau Desktop for Mac OS

The user base of Tableau is made of a heterogeneous group of people. And guess what? Some of them are using Mac OS based computers!!

From version 8.2 they will be able to analyse and discover data using Tableau directly from their preferred platform: Mac OS. The old days of having another computer or even a virtual machine running Windows to be able to work with Tableau Desktop are gone.

Here are the highlights of this improvement:

  • All the Tableau products (Reader, Public and Desktop) will all be available for Mac OS.
  • The Mac OS version will support high resolution Retina displays and will use the same files (TWB, TWBX, TDE, and TDS) that are supported on the Windows version of Tableau Desktop.
  • The Tableau users could use the same license for the Tableau Desktop on Windows and Mac. According to Tableau, the installation on Mac OS will be plug and play: Install Tableau Desktop on your Mac and activate it with your existing license.

From the Mac OS lovers I can only expect to hear a word… “FINALLY!“

 

Conclusion

As you can see, most of the new features improve visualization, something that identifies Tableau as a data discovery tool. Remember that this post is based on Tableau 8.2 Beta version 4, so it’s sensible to changes until the final version is released.

I hope this blog has helped you to get a better idea of how the new version looks like and how useful it will be in your future data discovery and analysis. What are your favorite features of Tableau? Do you think the new options bring value to your Tableau visualizations? Tell us your opinion in a comment below this blog post!

For more information, feel free to contact us at: www.clearpeaks.com

Oracle Discoverer De-Support: how do you visualise your future BI and reporting?

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If you are still using Oracle Discoverer for some or all of your reporting and BI requirements, you are probably struggling to deliver on user demands for better mobile/tablet access and richer information visualisation to improve interpretation, understanding and informed decision-making.

Also, it’s not new news that Oracle Discoverer is on its way out.  It ceased to be Oracle’s strategic BI toolset as long ago as 2006, when OBIEE came to the fore as Oracle’s new flagship BI platform.  Premier Support ceases in June 2014, and Oracle recommends all customers to migrate away from Discoverer by June 2015.

Many customers invested considerably in Discoverer prior to the release of OBIEE, and through challenging economic times have sweated the asset rather than undertake the transition to a more state-of-the-art platform.

Now that Discoverer is moving into its final stages of life, it is time to revisit the strategy for current Discoverer customers.

Why should I be migrating away from Discoverer?

From a business viewpoint, you are already well behind the curve in terms of the BI capability offered to you by Discoverer – and that could easily mean that you are falling behind your competitors who have gained the edge of working with newer, more able technology.

The releases of Discoverer around 2006, including Discoverer for OLAP, were actually pretty good at the time and brought it to a comparable level with other products of the day.  But just look around at what else has changed since then in the IT world – mobile devices, social media, advanced visualisation, big data – so that today, even if Discoverer is doing what it says on the tin, it is not equipped to move forward in any way.  Many end-user capabilities that are considered “must have” today are just not possible with Discoverer; indeed, even in its heyday, whilst Discoverer was a good workhorse, it never did score particularly good ratings for usability.

The last “features” release of Discoverer was 11gR1 in June 2009, and the terminal release of bug fixes and minor features was 11.1.1.7.0.  According to Oracle’s latest Statement of Direction (March 2014), there will be no further releases.  Premier Support ceases in June 2014, and Oracle recommends all customers to migrate away from Discoverer by June 2015.

A common objection from some customers is that they have a large estate of Discoverer reports and it would be far too major, complex and costly a task to replace them all.  Some customers have many hundreds of Discoverer reports, so at first glance it may indeed look like a huge task and not worth the cost.

However, a closer look may reveal that:

  • Actually, a large percentage of the “hundreds of reports” is redundant now – many of them are old versions or multiple temporary re-hashes of the same report.  So it may be that only tens of reports are still fit for active purpose.
  • Many of the reports are being used solely as a staging post to extract data to Excel for wrestling into shape for the final output – this is clearly an inefficient, error-prone and costly (in human time) process
  • There is a now cottage-industry of Excel (or other tools) producing newer report requirements that were not built into the Discoverer suite because it was not meeting the business need.  Again this could be costly, slow and error-prone.  Maybe the IT department thinks that Discoverer is still delivering what is required, but the business has moved on and may even have purchased other BI tools
  • Every time the underlying systems are upgraded, the whole Discoverer suite has to be re-tested and modified – Discoverer does not have the same metadata capabilities as OBIEE.  Many customers implemented Discoverer direct against transactional systems or eBusiness Suite without a data warehouse, meaning that every change to an underlying database could mean major rewrites of the Discoverer reporting suite.  The cost of a few iterations of this could outweigh the cost of replacement.

What do the changes to available Support mean?

When Premier Support ends (June 2014), the main change is that Certification with most new third party products/versions and new Oracle products ceases.  You can choose to keep the rest of the available Support features by paying an additional fee for Extended Support (free to June 2015).

If you choose not to opt for Extended Support, or in any case from June 2017, then you are on Sustaining Support.  This provides updates, fixes, security alerts, critical patch updates and upgrade tools/scripts for pre-existing issues only – not for anything new that occurs.  Also, there is no further certification against other Oracle or third-party products.  Basically you could maintain the software as-is, but if you were to change any of your source systems, database versions, etc, then you would be running the risk that if it broke, you would have no Support redress.

You are maybe planning on moving forward in other areas – e.g. an R12 Upgrade to eBusiness Suite, or migrating your database to 12c.  If you have any such major changes planned, it makes even more sense to reconsider whether Discoverer remains fit for purpose or whether it is now time to look at its replacement.  If you plan to move to the Fusion edition of eBusiness Suite, BI Foundation Suite becomes a pre-requisite.

Oracle specifically recommends that you should migrate by June 2015.

What should I replace it with?

Conventional wisdom, and Oracle recommendation, says:

  • Migrate the licenses to Oracle BI Foundation Suite or OBIEE.  There may be a partial rebate on the costs if you have a current Support contract, but this depends on versions and needs to be checked with your Oracle Account Manager (ClearPeaks can facilitate and advise on this)
  • For each Discoverer report, consider whether it is more appropriate to replace with Answers (the OBIEE analytic tool) or BI Publisher (the OBIEE tool for more structured reporting)
  • If you are an eBusiness Suite customer with packaged Discoverer content, replace with Oracle BI Applications

However, there are further considerations in making your decisions:

  • If you run direct against source databases – e.g. eBusiness Suite – would you benefit from changing to a datamart/warehouse approach to both future-proof your reporting and open up your data for analysis by making it available in a more digestible form for business users?
  • If your Discoverer “reports” are in reality being used for data extraction to another BI toolset, should you replace this manually intensive process with a proper ETL tool such as Oracle Data Integrator?
  • If your user base is small, could you migrate to the less costly BI Standard Edition One? (there are restrictions on this product so you would need advice)
  • If the business users have already moved on and adopted – in part – an alternative BI tool, does it make sense to enhance it to an Enterprise approach and incorporate the Discoverer content into the chosen BI toolset?
  • Would the use of a discovery-based BI tool fit your requirements better, or complement your more structured reporting?

ClearPeaks specialises not only in OBIEE/Foundation Suite, Oracle BI Applications and Endeca, but also in leading third-party BI products, so we are well-placed to provide advice on your best approach.

How should I go about it?

It makes sense to consult the expertise of a specialist BI implementer since, having waited this long before migrating, you will want to get it right!

ClearPeaks can help you to review your current estate of Discoverer reports with a thorough Health-Check and analysis of usage, together with capturing some of today’s aspirational requirements of the business rather than necessarily just doing a like-for-like replacement.  We can assist with licensing considerations, reviewing alternative replacement strategies, and making sure that you get the best fit at the most acceptable cost, with a solution that will hopefully live for as long as your Discoverer solution did!

We can help you to plan the migration, train appropriate IT staff / power users in the new technologies, run and test the migration scripts if appropriate (although in many cases it is more effective to use the old report as a design template and rebuild from scratch), and generally assist you through the implementation.  Or if you prefer –and are all busy with the day-job – we can take the problem away and build your new solution on one of our servers then commission it when ready to switch over.

Just give us a call and we will be delighted to help assess what is right for you!

A picture, or 1000 words?

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If you are reading this article, it is probable that you, too, are working in the rapidly evolving world of corporate performance management, business intelligence, data science, data management, or are closely associated to it.  You will be acutely aware of the unprecedented hype and interest surrounding Big Data and will be asking yourselves how your organisation can profit from the complex mash-up of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.

You will have heard that data is the new oil, the new high value corporate resource which, when discovered, explored, processed and refined, will be the fuel to drive your business ahead of your competitors for years to come.  But keeping abreast with the volume, variety and velocity of Big Data is only of value if you have tools and techniques to convert it into a useable asset, and that is where today’s data discovery and visualisation platforms play their part.

As a regular reader of The Guardian, a UK-based national newspaper, I follow their “Data” section, which helps me keep abreast of how data is used in solving problems across broad spectrums of life, industry and politics. But what is especially interesting to me in this section is how data is presented through high impact visual graphics to create compelling and enlightening stories for their readers.

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As little as 10 years ago, data visualisation was, in most part, restricted to national media stations, advertising gurus and graphical designer types, who would work with data analysts to convert spreadsheet-style input data into more appealing infographics for mass consumption through TV and national press.

And now, just a decade on, our appetite for highly visual information has dramatically diversified into the mass market of corporate consumers – from executive ‘C’ level managers down the ranks to entry level analysts.  The era of business storytelling and infographics is rapidly edging out the classic tabular report, pivot table and pie chart culture of the 80s and 90s.  Business intelligence tools are now expected to predict behaviour, track patterns and trends, highlight relativity and performance, all in one single interactive dashboard!

From a data perspective, I am sure you will share our sentiment that we are facing a revolution.

No longer is data the fenced territory of IT departments and database administrator types, but actually that data becomes high octane in nature when put into the hands of the business people who can really act on it, take critical decisions on it and who really understand it.  IT clearly have a key role in provisioning and governing business data, ensuring consistency, query performance , platform stability, security etc., but leaving the discovery and analysis in the eager and empowered hands of the business users who can make it work for the good of the business.

Working with industry leading information visualisation and discovery products, namely Tableau and Oracle Endeca, we at ClearPeaks are perfectly positioned to advise you - as an end user or BI/IT Manager - in this fast-paced, rapidly evolving world of big data, data blending and storytelling through powerful visualisation.  We can empower your business influencers and decision makers with rich functionality to detect patterns, trends and business metrics which otherwise would have lain undiscovered in the depths of your corporate data lakes.  We will coach and facilitate your business users to play and discover, to work creatively in order to present data in engaging ways for their audience, and most importantly,  help them excavate and reap tangible business value from their data.

If sight is our most efficient human sense (capable of interpreting visual information at network speeds), then business information presented in visually impacting formats must surely be a winning formula for ensuring corporate performance is monitored, managed and acted upon for optimal business benefit.

If you would like to get the benefit out of exploring your data, contact us and we will show you how to do it.

Data Discovery and Analysis: making the best of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery

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With the acquisition of Endeca in 2011, Oracle enhanced their already powerful Business Analytics products portfolio with Information Discovery capabilities, potentially allowing customers to analyse structured and unstructured data within the same framework.

Version 3.1 of the tool, released in November 2013, introduced new features such as Data Mash-up from multiple sources, easier and deeper unstructured analysis tools available directly to the business users, a tighter integration with the Oracle BI platform, Enterprise Class Data Discovery and the Web Acquisition Toolkit, a crawler to harvest and analyse website content.

Where, therefore, is Endeca positioned now within the context of Business Intelligence, and how should it be used to make the best of its capabilities? Can it be used as an alternative to OBIEE or other traditional, established Business Intelligence tools? How does its web crawling tool fare against the existing competition? To answer these questions and more, we have put Endeca on the test bench and saw it in action.

In today’s business landscape, analysis of unstructured and large volume data (Big Data) is morphing from a nice-to-have task for cutting-edge, BI-savvy companies to an important driver for business processes in enterprises everywhere. Customer data stored and displayed in social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are virtual gold for any marketing department, while sensors capture millions of snapshots on a daily basis that can be used to monitor manufacturing processes and improve their performance. It is not difficult, therefore, to see why Oracle considers Endeca a strategic investment and a key component of its Business Analysis product stack.

In the following paragraphs of this article you will find our honest, no-frills opinion on Endeca Information Discovery 3.1, its new features and our suggestions for making the best of it within your enterprise BI stack.

Integration with Oracle Business Intelligence

One of the most recurring complaints from early Endeca adopters was the lack of integration with the Oracle Common EIM (Enterprise Information Model). As often happens with recent acquisitions, the first Oracle-branded versions of Endeca – starting with Version 2.3 in April 2012 - were mostly a revamp of the existing Latitude tool. Endeca felt like, and actually was, a stand-alone data discovery tool with its own data processing engine and front-end studio.

This has radically improved with Version 3.1. Oracle BI is now a native data source for Endeca and users can now create their Discovery Applications sourcing data from OBI with a two-step easy process. Moreover, the Integration Knowledge Module for Oracle Data Integrator now enables the latter ETL tool to load data directly into the Endeca Server.

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There are still margins for improvement, of course. Administration tasks are still performed separately from the rest of the Oracle EIM architecture. Endeca Server does not interface with WebLogic and Enterprise Manager, core of the Oracle Middleware. We would also like to see CloverETL better integrated and possibly merged with ODI, to avoid splitting the overall data workflow and transformation logic in two separate tools. We see a lot of potential in using Endeca Server as a data source to the OBIEE repository, capability that is currently limited to BI Publisher.

We like, however, the concept of e-BS Extensions for Endeca. Based on pre-defined views in Oracle e-Business Suite, the Extensions consist of a set of Studio applications with pre-built content for a broad range of horizontal functions, from Supply Chain Management (Discrete and Process Manufacturing, Cost Management, Warehouse Management, Inventory,…) to Human Capital Management, Asset Management and more. The good level of integration within e-BS makes them a light-weight, easy-to-implement alternative to Oracle BI Analytic Applications module. Like for its bigger brother, however, the customization effort of the pre-built dashboards content required to be successfully used remains a question mark.

Self Service Analysis (Data Mash-up, Provisioning, Applications)

These are the topics that most excited our team when testing the new Endeca capabilities. The range of sources and databases available for data mash-up has been broadened, covering both databases as well as semi-structured data in JSON format and the Applications look and feel has been improved with new visualization options, but in our opinion the most compelling feature of Endeca is the new Provisioning and Applications creation process.

The workflow to create a new Discovery Application is now based on a wizard so user-friendly that we believe the classic buzz-phrase “Business users creating own applications! No more IT overhead!” is not a chimaera anymore but a serious possibility. Yes, establishing the Provisioning Service, connecting to the data source (JDBC for example) and configuring it might require some hand-holding, but once it is done, the wizard simplifies and streamlines the proper Application creation tasks, allowing the business user to perform its data discovery in autonomy.

Also, it is a fact that Endeca Applications look good. Definitely good, actually better than OBIEE dashboards and we can see why business users are usually impressed more by the former than the latter during product demos.

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Web Acquisition Toolkit

“A tool within a tool within a tool” is how our testing team has defined the new web crawling tool embedded in Endeca.

The toolkit looks and feels separate from the Endeca Server (it actually is) and features its own Design Studio where crawling rules and workflows can be defined, organized and scheduled, adding a third layer of data processing complexity: from Design Studio to CloverETL to ODI. In fact, Web Acquisition Toolkit does not use Endeca Server as a target, so a third party ETL tool is necessary to move data accordingly.

However, even if right now there are cheaper and more powerful options on the market, the tool does its job and – if Oracle continues investing in product integration, which we think is very likely – has the potential to become a very interesting feature of future Endeca versions.

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Best fit for Endeca?

Wrapping up, we can safely say that Endeca is evolving into a compelling component of the Business Intelligence stack for enterprises looking to enable their users to perform rapid-fire data discovery (up to a certain extent, of course – data management, especially in complex enterprise environments, will still be required).

The stand-alone nature of Endeca architecture is a weakness but also a strength, allowing Endeca to be purchased and installed independently from the rest of the Oracle BI stack. However, we can see how e-BS Extensions make Endeca extremely appealing to Oracle ERP existing users.

Could Endeca, therefore, be considered as an alternative to OBIEE (and Oracle BI Applications) as the enterprise Business Intelligence tool? We do not think so. Although its Applications visualization capabilities are very powerful, the best fit for Endeca is to complement OBIEE. While the solid back-end (repository metadata layers, reports and dashboards catalog) of the latter provides corporate reporting in a structured and organised way, Endeca’s real power lies in enabling the business user to individually analyze data patterns on the fly: mix and match different data sources and quickly create new applications to find out the answers they need.

To enable all of the above, Self-service provisioning is where the strength of Endeca shows up. Web sources, unstructured information as flat files can be mashed together, and setting up and configuring another provisioning service to mix it up with the rest is a very easy task.

We at ClearPeaks will keep on the outlook for future enhancements and features of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. If in the meantime you want to know more about Endeca and how it could add value to your enterprise, contact us.

 

Oracle MAD Key Features

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In 2013, mobile devices passed PCs to be most common Web access tools. Through 2014, JavaScript performance will push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream application developer environment and by 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones. On the other hand connection speeds are increasing, local storage is losing importance and cloud computing is getting more importance every day.mad1

Under these facts, don’t you think it’s the right time to start thinking on how to move your BI platform to the mobile world?

In this blog we’ll review some of the relevant features of the Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile App Designer (MAD), a component from Oracle BI Foundation Suite developed to deal with mobile devices.

Don’t panic! Despite the name we will not get MAD using it. As you will see it is a very simple tool and provides excellent results even for non-expert users.

In the first part of this blog post we’ll review some visualization techniques introduced in Oracle BI MAD: navigation list, tile & accordion layouts (which are the most striking ones) and a new type of filters. If you are used to Oracle BI EE reporting, you might find them quite interesting.

In the second part of the blog post we’ll focus on some other interesting features: plugins, subscriptions and links.

1. Visualization Features

As a dashboard designer you’ll have to consider some specific aspects related to mobile devices: The screen is smaller than a regular monitor, and graphics and data must fit into the screen. On the other side, navigation is different than using a mouse. Oracle MAD was developed considering that. Based on HTML5, it includes enhanced visualization of charts, with transitions and animations that allow us to show data in a different way than a classical BI tool, as we will see below.

1.1  Navigation list

Navigation pages enable you to define a navigable set of filters that you can use to filter the data visualized on the page. The navigation area of the page contains a hierarchy of dimensions that you tap through to drive the display on the detail side of the page; you can see successively more refined sets of data, or navigate up and down the hierarchical filters to see the subset of data that interests you. Additionally, you can also give a conditional format into the navigation pane, so it is easier to drill into the hierarchy of interest.

The navigation pane is available through the new page editor menu.

In the next sample we’ll set a navigation list to analyze the revenue by period, drilling from Year to Month, just with a few steps:

Select New Page to add a navigation pane
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In the navigation List we select the top level in the time hierarchy (YEAR) and the aggregation type Summation for the revenue metric.

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Next, we add the Quarter and Month in the navigation hierarchy to be able to drill to the lower level.

Then we can set a conditional formatting for the revenue metric, based on the target revenue metric by clicking first the revenue text box, and then Edit spotlight button, to set up the thresholds

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In the spotlight editor, we set up the conditions based on user defined thresholds, and the target revenue measure.

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Once we have configured the navigation list we can proceed to add some charts into the layout, and we will be able to check the data at different levels of the hierarchy just tapping on the desired level in the navigation pane.

1.2  Tile and Accordion Layout

Tile pages provide a scrollable grid of cells, each containing identical components that are repeated for a specific field in your data. You can use tile pages to provide an instant view of a key measure across a specific dimension. This view not only provides a complete picture within each cell, but also enables an at-a-glance comparison across the data set. You can further enhance the visual impact of the values represented in each cell by creating stoplight formatting to highlight cells whose results fall outside the range of specific threshold values.

In the following image you can check the look and feel of the tile layout.

Accordion Layout allows to view data in a set of elements that we can expand vertically; it also allows to set a metric for each element in the dimension and conditional format in a similar way to the navigation pages.

To create it, just select new tile or accordion layout and give your custom format.

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1.3  Filters

MAD allow to add filters to the layout, these filters are simply added to the layout in the insert tab in the menu bar, and will display values which we can tap to filter the data within the page.

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Just click on filter and add it to the layout, once added, drag and drop an object from the data source into it.

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Notice the top bar in the image above, where you can see years and quarters, acts as a filter to the all values in the layout.

Charts can be used as filters as well by tapping data into one chart. For example, we may want to filter a bar chart just to have the values that we have tapped in another chart.

As you will see in the following images, once you tap a graph, a text box appears showing that data has been filtered to show just the values for the object you tapped.

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2. Other Features

2.1  Plugins    

A great feature of Oracle MAD is that allows us to code Java Script plugins enabling to customize the BI App at your own desire. Some plugins are built-in with the installation, such as geomaps. But you can also create your own custom plugins. To make a plugin available you just need to copy the code (plugin_name.js) into the BI publisher plugins directory.  It will appear in the Plugins toolbar. Once the plugin is available you just have to drag and drop it into the layout.

Let’s see some of the plugins you can add to your mobile app:

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Another interesting plugin is the heat map, which shows rectangular areas and the value for a metric. We just need to add two levels of hierarchy and a metric value. It is also zoomed in when tapped the rectangular area, to see the details.In the screenshot above we drop the geomap plugin into the layout, together with the country dimension into the region box and a metric (in this case paid amount) into the value box.

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Other less sophisticated, but effective as well is the following YouTube plugin that allows us to include a video in our mobile app.

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2.2  Links

The Link button it’s a really cool feature included in Oracle BI Mad. As you might be guessing you can include a link in your report to a web page, but also you can send an e-mail, make a call or send a text message.

On your mobile App just click on the link button

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And then select the type of link you want to set

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As you can see for a Phone App there are 4 kind of links: web page, email, Phone and SMS. To create the link you can enter a data field value (from the list of fields on the left screen), a static value or both.

2.3  Displaying the app

Oracle BI MAD has an built-in emulator that allows us to see how the mobile app will look like. You can test the app at any time going to the emulator and selecting on PC. To test it into a physical device just click preview and click on Mobile. The page will show a QR that we can scan with our device to run the app, or the URL of the app we can connect to.

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Once you display your app into the physical device, you may realize that layouts may not display identically as they were into the emulator. In order to avoid that, you just have to use the in build templates or use frame objects to set the display properly.

2.4  Subscriptions

The distribution of the mobile apps to the users is easily managed with the Apps library. As a developer you can publish a new app in the library once is it finished and ready to be distributed.

As a consumer, in the mobile device, you can choose the apps you want to subscribe. By doing that, when the mobile App is updated, you are notified a new version is available. The apps you are subscribed to, appear in the My Apps Library folder.

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Conclusions

Oracle BI MAD allows you to create mobile BI apps quickly offering very good results in a short period of time.  It’s based on HTML5 technology, so it works on most mobiles devices, including Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows phone operating systems, either phones or tablets.

The designer offers you multiple options to get enhanced visualizations of your data with an easy navigation, tap driven. And there is no need to install any app on the devices, as the app is web browser based. The subscription is controlled by the Oracle Business Intelligence App Store.

If you want to get more information about Oracle BI MAD contact us or leave a comment below this post!

 

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